Martin Scorsese Wants Al Pacino and Robert De Niro to Play Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in SINATRA

     May 24, 2010


There may yet be many months between us and a Frank Sinatra biopic directed by Martin Scorsese, but the auteur is slowly compiling an impressive list of actors he would like to work on the picture.  Scorsese already mentioned Johnny Depp, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Tobey Maguire, but dropped this bomb in a recent interview.

“I’m yet to spot the actor who can bring back Frank Sinatra alive on screen.  My choice is Al Pacino, and Robert De Niro as Dean Martin.”

Scorsese has previously expressed interest in hiring different actors to portray the iconic singer at different points in his life (“Younger. Older. Middle-aged. Very old.”), so Pacino and De Niro would presumably play Sinatra and Martin circa the late seventies (i.e. “very old”).  Hit the jump for more comments from Scorsese regarding the “histrionic ability” of Pacino, his admiration for Meryl Streep, and the drawbacks of the James Cameron era of Hollywood.

righteous_kill_movie_poster__1_In an interview with Indian newspaper The Hindu [via The Playlist], praised the aforementioned Italian-American duo,

“With taut scripts by the dynamic Paul Schrader, I considered it a true cinematic challenge of working with a versatile actor such as Robert De Niro, who molds himself according to each character. The only other actor who matches his histrionic ability is Al Pacino.”

I don’t necessarily see the resemblance between the two and the legends they’d portray, though I’m sure Scorsese is more than capable of drawing engaging performances out of De Niro and Pacino.  If you’re casting multiple generations of actors to play the same characters in the project, the narrative consistency will likely rely far more on the actor’s presentation than actual physical likeness.   It sounds like we may get a more mainstream version of I’m Not There out of this biopic, which sounds pretty fantastic, regardless of whether Scorsese’s dream cast comes together or not.

According to the article, Scorsese ranks his favorite contemporary actresses like so:
1) Meryl Streep
2) Julia Roberts
3) Angelina Jolie

Of course, this may have just been an off-handed remark to the interviewer.  Per my recollection, the director has not yet worked with any of them (much to the chagrin of this Facebook group), so this may even be “Actresses I Would Like to Work With” by Martin Scorsese.

James CameronIn a bit of an underhanded compliment to Avatar king James Cameron, Scorsese lamented the state of the business.

“Now, there are brilliant technicians such as James Cameron who create wizardry. But, unfortunately, content takes a back seat, as Francis Ford Coppola and Sir Richard Attenborough have said many times. Stalwarts such as John Ford, Billy Wilder and William Wyler were not only versatile and thinking directors, they concentrated on a variety of subjects, with importance to content. If I’m to direct a Reds, or a Cry Freedom, I simply will not be able to do so, as my commitment to cinema is of a different nature. In this context, I must admit that European directors are far ahead of Hollywood. We simply cannot imagine experimenting like Vittorio De Sica, Ingmar Bergman or Jean Luc Godard.”

Do note that Scorsese will shoot his next film, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, in 3D, so he can’t be completely opposed to the technical revolution.  The family-friendly Hugo Cabret stars Asa Butterfield (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas), Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass), Ben Kingsley, and Sacha Baron Cohen with a script from John Logan (The Aviator); it is set for a December 2011 release.

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